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Ribes hirtellum #1 (American Gooseberry)
-Part Sun, Full Sun, Full Shade
-Moist to Wet Soil (FACW)
-Slightly Acidic to Slightly Alkaline pH
-2-3′ Tall by 2-3′ Wide
-Twiggy, Multi-stem Shrub
Out of stock
American Gooseberry is a native multi-stem shrub that thrives in moist soils in sun or shade. The low, twiggy stems become covered in bristles as they mature. Sparrows, bluebirds, northern flickers and thrushes eat the berries, and many others take shelter in the dense spiny mass of stems. The tubular flowers also attract hummingbirds.
The gooseberry flesh is greenish with a pink to purple translucent skin. The berries are ready for harvest from July to mid-August and have a sweet, floral taste.
Ribes species are an alternate host for White Pine Blister Rust. The White Pine Blister Rust became a problem starting in 1910 when a careless, or clueless, plantsman imported thousands of infected Pinus strobus (our native Eastern White Pine) from Europe, where they were grown as ornamentals, and used them for reforestation throughout the continent. The pathogen was spread far and wide, efficiently and forever. In the 20’s and 30’s, the government hired armies of people to eradicate cultivated and wild Ribes and banned importation and cultivation. The ban lasted until 1966. Both measures were unsuccessful. Therefore, it would be a good idea to do some further research before deciding to plant them. The rust spores from the Pines can spread hundreds of miles to the Ribes, but only a few hundred feet from the Ribes to the Pines.
Native Trees, Shrubs, & Vines by William Cullina
Gardening for the Birds by George Adams
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
University of Minnesota
Fruit Detail: Nadiatalent, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons